Kim HTML version

Chapter 5
Here come I to my own again
Fed, forgiven, and known again
Claimed by bone of my bone again,
And sib to flesh of my flesh!
The fatted calf is dressed for me,
But the husks have greater zest for me ...
I think my pigs will be best for me,
So I'm off to the styes afresh.
The Prodigal Son.
Once more the lazy, string-tied, shuffling procession got under way, and she slept till
they reached the next halting-stage. It was a very short march, and time lacked an hour to
sundown, so Kim cast about for means of amusement.
'But why not sit and rest?' said one of the escort. 'Only the devils and the English walk to
and fro without reason.'
'Never make friends with the Devil, a Monkey, or a Boy. No man knows what they will
do next,' said his fellow.
Kim turned a scornful back - he did not want to hear the old story how the Devil played
with the boys and repented of it and walked idly across country.
The lama strode after him. All that day, whenever they passed a stream, he had turned
aside to look at it, but in no case had he received any warning that he had found his
River. Insensibly, too, the comfort of speaking to someone in a reasonable tongue,' and of
being properly considered and respected as her spiritual adviser by a well-born woman,
had weaned his thoughts a little from the Search. And further, he was prepared to spend
serene years in his quest; having nothing of the white manis impatience, but a great faith.
'Where goest thou?' he called after Kim.
'Nowhither - it was a small march, and all this'- Kim waved his hands abroad - 'is new to
'She is beyond question a wise and a discerning woman. But it is hard to meditate when -'
'All women are thus.' Kim spoke as might have Solomon.
'Before the lamassery was a broad platform,' the lama muttered, looping up the well-worn
rosary, 'of stone. On that I have left the marks of my feet - pacing to and fro with these.'
He clicked the beads, and began the 'Om mane pudme hum's of his devotion; grateful for
the cool, the quiet, and the absence of dust.